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Israel destroys 2 Gaza high-rises with dozens of shops, apartments in latest escalation of war

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-1.jpg

    Palestinians gather around the wreckage of a vehicle following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Several Palestinians were killed and several more were wounded in an airstrike on the car, according Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (The Associated Press)

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-2.jpg

    Smoke and dust rise after an Israeli strike hits in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (The Associated Press)

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    Palestinians inspect the rubble of a house belonging to the Abu Hamada family after an Israeli strike in Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Several people were wounded in an airstrike on houses in Jebaliya refugee camp, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (The Associated Press)

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-4.jpg

    Palestinians, who are neighbors of a house belonging to Abu Hamada family, inspect the damage to their houses, after an Israeli strike in Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. Fifteen people were wounded in an airstrike on houses in Jebaliya refugee camp, according toGaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) (The Associated Press)

Gaza police says Israel has bombed two large high-rise buildings in Gaza City, with dozens of homes and shops — an escalation in the seven weeks of fighting with Hamas.

Police says the 15-floor Basha Tower with apartments and offices was leveled in Tuesday's attack. The second building, the Italian Complex with 72 apartments and 60 stores, was badly damaged.

The towers were evacuated before the attacks. A Gaza health official says 25 people were wounded in the strike on the Italian Complex.

Israel says it targeted sites linked to militants, but made no references to the two buildings. Israel alleges Hamas often operates from civilian locations.

This is the second time since the weekend that Gaza high-rises have been toppled in an apparent attempt to increase pressure on Hamas.

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